Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Manitoba magistrate swaps her robes for schoolbook
"I used to be a magistrate in the court and really came to see there's not a lot of justice in the justice system," said the 44-year-old.
"We have a lot of rights on paper but they're really based on socio-economics," she said. "If you're rich you have a lot of rights, if you're poor you don't have a lot. I got tired of that feeling that I was fighting a losing battle."
She saw newcomers struggling with the language and the culture and poverty. If they were going to have equal justice, they needed to learn English to make a decent living and be able to assert their rights. On her own time, Treidler trained to become an English as an Additional Language instructor.
"Now I can be proactive rather than reactive.
"As a magistrate, you have to be impartial. Now I can throw myself into it."
Her new work is rewarding and it's also a challenge.
"Last year, there was a fight," she said.
Two women had issues with each other that erupted into a physical confrontation, she said. For the adversaries, a scrap was how they were used to resolving their issues.
"If you have to live in a refugee camp, you have to fight for everything." Treidler broke it up and set them straight.
"They had to learn if you have a problem, you don't duke out -- especially not in a school."
It was the first and last fight in the program.
"A lot of women have never been to school or have had limited experience with the education system," said Treidler.
Ideally, the program would welcome anyone in the neighbourhood needing to work on their literacy, she said. Newcomers from First Nations who want to improve their English and get to know their new community would attend.
"We talk about the right to education in theory," said Treidler, "but what if people can't access it because of child care, their health or whatever?"
-- Carol Sanders
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 4, 2008 $sourceSection$sourcePage
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